I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love doing nothing. My ideal day would be spent in bed, in my comfy clothes, drooling like an idiot into my pillow, looking through the endless mobile Pinterest feed and growing virtual plants on my “Flower Garden” app. Yes. Virtual plants. I would probably call myself a pretty low activity kind of person. I walk slow, I like to be sedentary for long periods of time. Sometimes on days when I have nothing to do, I swear that I am going to grow moss and turn into a rock. I wouldn’t call myself lazy…..okay yeah I would definitely call myself lazy. I just have very little motivation to do anything. Especially when I don’t absolutely have to. What can I say? I have always been this way. I was that kid in the middle school that made up imaginary illnesses and basically tried every which way possible to get out of gym class. Physical activity has never been my forte and perhaps this has contributed greatly to the predicament I am in now with my weight. I’ve never been particularly coordinated although I did play volleyball on a team in 6th grade. Granted, I was benched ALL the time and was the worst player on the team but I got myself a few lucky jabs. But truthfully I feel that it isn’t really programmed into any of us to choose discomfort over luxury and go pay $40 a month to lift weights that make our muscles ache or run laps that make us want to puke. Exercise isn’t one of those things that we are just dying to do. So of course it takes a little extra something to get me to get out there.
The one good thing that came from those many lazy mornings in bed on Pinterest is that I found this app that I am really really enjoying. When I first saw one of my friends pin this thing, I read the description and thought, “there must be a catch”. Charity Miles is a FREE application for your iPhone or Android that is basically like a pedometer on steroids. Using the GPS on your phone, you select, “Walk”, “Run” or “Bike” and the app will track your progress. Now here’s the cool part. At the beginning of your work out you are able to select any charity that you would like from their list. They basically do all the major ones like Feeding America, Wounded Warrior Project, ASPCA, all the great charities that you always hear about. At the end of your workout you have the opportunity to “accept sponsorship”. Basically meaning that for every mile you walk or run, Charity Miles’ sponsor, will donate .25 cents to your selected charity. Bikers get .10 cents a mile since going a mile on foot is way harder than going a mile on a bike. This app requires no money from you, the only thing they ask is that you share your progress on Facebook and then additionally on Twitter if you like. By making a post on Facebook their idea is that it will get the word out about their program.
I’m really big on giving back. For ages and ages I have been wanting to donate money to these big charities but have not had the extra money of my own to give. When I found this app I realized that it was a win/win situation. Not only am I able to raise money for these causes that I care about, but it comes at no monetary loss to me, and I am making myself healthier through helping other people. From what I can tell the app doesn’t take up very much space on your device. The only concern that I would have is that if you DON’T have unlimited data, the app MAY eat into that. I did an experiment not too long ago on my boyfriend’s phone (he has a limited data plan) and turned off the wifi and the cellular network and tried to run the app. The app still worked, but it did say that GPS signal was low. Not sure what that means but I have a feeling that it wouldn’t work as well if you didn’t use your 3G network, hence your data plan. The app is really user friendly. I have had many pedometer apps on my phone that have failed me miserably. When I used to walk home from school a few semesters ago, I tried to get a pedometer on my phone just to track how long my walk was and how many calories I burned. Many of the pedometers, if you closed the app or you locked your phone, stopped counting. Either that or they would freeze at some point and shut down. A few of them wouldn’t allow you to listen to music while you worked out which was really stupid. I just was never impressed. This app provides a really GOOD quality pedometer. The only thing it doesn’t do is count calories as the main target of the app is not so much personal health but giving back to charities. Other than that, you can close the app, turn on your music, lock your phone, it will keep working in the background until you tell it to stop. It hasn’t crashed on me yet so it seems like a pretty decent app. Now the only thing I have to say I was a little disappointed about, because it works on GPS, it does not work in a gym. You can’t plug it up while you’re on the treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike because technically…you’re not going anywhere. And there’s nothing for the GPS to track. I’m not exactly sure why it works that way but it only works for people who use the road to walk, run or bike. Which is fine for me because I can’t afford a gym membership anyway and the neighborhood behind my apartment complex works just as well. But for some people, I could see this being a problem. It really limits their audience which kind of sucks. But other than that, I would say this is a very legit app.
When you first download Charity Miles they ask you to connect via your Facebook. I guess that would be another restriction, if you didn’t use Facebook you wouldn’t be able to use this app. But I guess these guys are operating under the assumption that most people do in fact use Facebook. Facebook IS a requirement. Twitter is not, but you can use Twitter to publish your progress as an after thought. When you first open the app they will direct you to a video which I find very nice. The video is just basically explaining to you what Charity Miles is, how it works, what you need to do. It’s a really well put together video and it really inspired me. After the first time you open the app, all the other times, you will be directed to the home screen which will give you three options at the top of the screen. Walk, Run or Bike. After you pick your poison you will be asked to flick through a few charities and choose which one you would like to work out for. You don’t have to just stick with one, you can do a different one each day. Whatever strikes your fancy. Then you press start and just go. After your workout you press “stop” and “finish”. You can also press “resume” too if you want to keep going. That’s also another cool feature. You can stop and go as you please. The pedometer will only track what you want it to track. So if you wanted to use the app for walking between classes you could pause it during class and start it up again after. After you press “finish” you select “Accept sponsorship”. You have the option of not logging the workout, but if you don’t you will not earn the money for the charity. That is the only price you pay, a post on your Facebook. The app will give you a pre-written status update that describes how many miles you walked or ran or biked and for what charity. You post it and you’re done. The app also tracks your progress and creates a log of all the work outs you have ever done with Charity Miles so you can see how much you have impacted others.
Another cool thing about Charity Miles is that while you are in the midst of your work out you can view your workout in terms of time, miles and impact. The impact is my favorite feature because it tells you what kind of difference you are making in the charity. For instance, once I walked two miles for ASPCA. In the time column it said “40 minutes” in the miles column it said “2 miles” and in the impact column it said “4 vaccinations for shelter animals”. It showed me exactly what my work out was earning for myself and others. It truly is a fantastic little app. I can’t say that I use it everyday because I do not work out everyday. But when I do work out, I use it. For me, it is just the motivation that I need to get out of the house and start working out. It may sound silly, but it makes me feel needed. I love knowing that while I am making myself a better person, I am also helping others in need. I really recommend this app to anyone who is able to use it. I would really like to hear about your experiences if you so choose to use this app. My best friend, Nicole and I both use this app and we love it. So really, give it a try and see what you think and tell me which charities you are helping! 🙂
Eat, Pray, Love,